French Sufi Imams back Pope after Vatican Audience
A group of French imams attended a general audience with Pope Francis recently, stating that they saw the Catholic leader as a figure of reconciliation.
“We feel something strong with this pope. We, the minorities need him,” said Hassen Chalghoumi, a Tunisian imam in Drancy, a suburb of Paris. “Moderates should be supported. We should not be grouped with extremists who burn churches,” he said. The visit was organised by Marek Halter, a French writer of Polish Jewish origin, who briefly met with the pope during the audience in St Peter’s Square. There were a total of eight imams, seven from Paris and suburbs and one from Marseille. Chalghoumi said they were all “Sufis.” Tunisian cinema and television tycoon, Tarak Ben Ammar brought the imams on his private plane and said the visit would boost inter-religious dialogue. “We have a problem to resolve ourselves. Christians had this in the Middle Ages. Political Islam is winning the upper hand,” Ben Ammar said. Halter said that Francis “can do what Benedict XVI never managed to do: reconcile Christianity and Islam”.